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St. Mary is Among the First in the Region to Use a New Device to Treat Brain Aneurysms
Neurosurgeon Implants FDA-Approved Pipeline Device

LANGHORNE, PA., August 8, 2012 – Neurosurgeons at St. Mary Medical Center now have a new way to treat large brain aneurysms that once were considered very risky to treat with traditional methods. Neurosurgeon Pascal Jabbour implanted a Pipeline Embolization Device (PED) to treat a giant aneurysm in the brain of 70-year-old woman on August 7, 2012.

“The treatment was very successful; the woman is doing fine and is expected to go home tomorrow,” said Dr. Jabbour, a neurosurgeon with Jefferson Neurosurgical Associates at St. Mary Medical Center.

Going home the day after the procedure also is among the benefits a patient can anticipate with the minimally invasive procedure. The Pipeline Embolization Device received FDA approval in April 2011 as the first and only flow diversion device to treat aneurysms.

An aneurysm is a weak spot in the wall of a blood vessel which is characterized by an abnormal ballooning or widening of the vessel. Untreated cerebral aneurysms can rupture causing a potentially deadly hemorrhagic stroke. “Headaches and blurring vision may be symptoms of a cerebral aneurysm, but in most cases there are no symptoms until they rupture and unfortunately that is with severe, and often fatal, consequences,” explains Dr. Jabbour.

Using the advanced imaging technology that provides neurosurgeons with detailed three-dimensional views of small blood vessels and soft tissue during neuroradiology procedures in the operating room, the Pipeline device in inserted through a small incision in the groin using a thin catheter tube to advance the cylinder-shaped mesh device to the location of the aneurysm in the brain. Unlike endovascular coiling, another minimally invasive approach which fills the aneurysm with embolic coils to prevent blood flow into the aneurysm, the Pipeline device is implanted across the opening of the aneurysm and works like a plug to divert the blood from entering the aneurysm. Over time, the aneurysm shrinks and the blood vessel heals.

Dr. Jabbour is an approved proctor for employing the Covidien EV3 Pipeline device and trains neurosurgeons across the United States in its use and techniques of delivery. He considers the device an important breakthrough in treatment options available for large cerebral aneurysms.

Surgical clipping of an aneurysm requires major surgery and the opening of the skull, and endovascular embolization can be riskier in that the coils are stuffed within the weakened walls of the aneurysm. “And both of these procedures can have a reoccurrence rate near 50 percent,” says Dr. Jabbour. “A reoccurrence of an aneurysm after implanting a Pipeline device is proving to be less than 5 percent. That’s a significant improvement.”

The Neurosciences Center at St. Mary is one of the region’s most a comprehensive neurosciences programs offering a wide range of medical and surgical services. Its team of nationally recognized specialists in neurology and neurosurgery handle any brain or spine problem or neurological condition, even the most complex. In addition, St. Mary is a Comprehensive Stroke Center providing fast evaluation and treatment for stroke coordinated by an emergency-department-based rapid-response team.